How people use their time has health implications, but use of time may be influenced by factors such as age, sex, education and health.
This study aimed to provide detailed information on the daily activity patterns of older working people.
139 older Australian adults (aged 50-79 years) undertook comprehensive interviews on their use of time. This paper presents a cross-sectional analysis of the baseline findings from a longitudinal study.
Main outcome measures
Use of time was measured using the Multimedia Activity Recall for Children and Adults (MARCA), administered via computer-assisted phone interview. Activity patterns were described, and compared on the basis of sex, education and health status.
The main activities undertaken were sleep (mean 466 min/day), work (mean 233 min/day) and chores (mean 160 min/day), with little time spent on physical activity (mean 13 min/day). Women spent more time doing chores (p < 0.001) while men spent more time on vigorous activities (p < 0.001). Participants with "fair" health spent less time on inside chores (p = 0.05) and grooming (p = 0.02) than healthier participants.
Healthy lifestyle interventions for older workers should aim to increase physical activity levels by targeting specific activities, depending on sex and health status.